Rawalpindi-The 72nd Independence Day was celebrated here on Wednesday with traditional zeal and enthusiasm while the residents also expressed solidarity with people of Indian-occupied Kashmir.

“The government and people have given a clear message to the world that Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan,” said PTI provincial ministers Basharat Raja, Fayaz ul Hassan Chohan and Raja Rashid Hafeez at a press briefing held at Punjab House the same day.

Commissioner Rawalpindi Capt (R) Saqib Zafar, Regional Police Officer Capt (R) Ehsan Tufail, Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Ali Randhawa, City Police Officer Capt (R) Faisal Rana and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the media, the ministers denounced Indian atrocities in Kashmir and urged United Nations and international comity to come forward to free Kashmiris from the clutches of India. They said that Kashmir is jugular vein of Pakistan. “Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination as per the resolutions passed by the UN,” they said.

Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja said that the cleanliness campaign launched by Rawalpindi Waste Management Corporation in the city was fat batter than the last year as the sanitary workers lifted more than 7,000 tons of remains of sacrificial animals on first two days of Eid from various parts of the city. “On the third day of Eid, a total of 1,000 tons offal was lifted by sanitary workers and dumped in proper places,” he said.

Raja Basharat said that cleanliness operation was still underway across the district.

He said that residents of Rawalpindi celebrated Eid peacefully due to elaborate security arrangements made by police and other law enforcement agencies. “Eid congregations were held in more than 1,500 mosques under tight security,” he said. He appreciated the tireless efforts of the RPO, CPO and the DC for beefing up security and launching cleanliness operation in the city on occasion of Eid ul Azha.

The minister said that the government received 444 applications for NOCs for collection of skins of the sacrificial animal in the province. “We have issued NOCs to 383 applicants whereas 51 applications were rejected,” he said.

Police took stern action against those found involved in collecting skins without NOC and also registered 24 cases against the violators, he said.

“The PTI government is making all our efforts to execute mega projects of Ring Road, Leh Expressway and Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology which were earlier facing delay due to erroneous policies of the previous government,” he said in response to a question.

Fayaz ul Hassan Chohan while speaking on the occasion said that the government and the nation had expressed solidarity with people of Kashmir on Independence Day. He said that Kashmir is being given blood bath by Indian cruel forces but they could not press the voice of innocent Kashmiris.

He also denounced Indian President and Prime Minister for revoking Article 370. He said that the people of Kashmir would pour on roads and streets as Indian government lifts curfew from the valley.

Raja Rashid Hafeez said that people of Pakistan and the government stood with Kashmiris. He said that Kashmir would be freed from clutches of India soon. Raja Rashid Hafeez appreciated efforts of DC for launching a successful cleanliness operation in Rawalpindi during Eid ul Azha.